On December 21, 2005, Sakic was named captain of Team Canada for the 2006 Winter Olympics. He is the 11th all-time points scorer in the NHL and 2nd among active players (behind Steve Yzerman), and widely considered one of the NHL's most talented players.
Joe Šakiæ is of Croat origin. He was born in Vancouver to a family of immigrants from Croatia, (his father Marijan is from Imotski, his mother Slavica from Lika). Joe didn't speak English until he entered kindergarten. Growing up, his boyhood idol was Wayne Gretzky.
Although media guides list his birthplace as Burnaby, British Columbia, he was actually born in Vancouver; he grew up in Burnaby and attended Burnaby North Secondary School. He is a fan favourite in the Vancouver region, and a street in Burnaby has been named "Joe Sakic Way" in his honour. He is affectionately known as "Burnaby Joe" to the fans in the Vancouver region.
His brother, Brian, played center for the Flint Generals in the United Hockey League.
In 1986-87, Joe was Rookie of the Year for the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL. He notched 60 goals and 73 assists for 133 points. The next year, 1987-88, Joe was the WHL Player of the Year and Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year scoring 160 points (78 goals, 82 assists).
Sakic was drafted 15th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, and made his NHL debut in October, 1988. While the Nordiques were in a rebuilding mode during his early years, Sakic was the best player on some dismal team lineups, eventually earning the title of captain for the first time in 1990. Sakic has been the sole captain of the Nordiques/Avalanche since the 1992-93 season.
Sakic made his NHL debut on October 6, 1988 against the Hartford Whalers, recording an assist in his first game. His first goal came two days later against goaltender Sean Burke, then of the New Jersey Devils.
In 1989-90, his second NHL season, Sakic scored 100 points in the NHL for the first time. This was a remarkable feat given that he played for a truly dreadful Nordiques team which finished the season with 31 points and a 12-61-7 record, 33 points behind the next-to-last place Vancouver Canucks. He repeated the feat in 1990-91 on a 16-50-14 squad in Quebec.
Under his leadership, the Nords made the playoffs in 1993 and the lockout-shortened season of 1995. The next year, he moved with the franchise as they became the Colorado Avalanche, leading them to the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001.
Sakic was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 1996 NHL playoffs. In 2001, He won a trio of awards including the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's MVP, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for gentlemanly conduct, and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league MVP voted for by his peers.
Sakic is known for his prolific offensive skills and is considered by many to have the best wrist shot in the NHL.
Sakic had 2 goals and 2 assists in Canada's gold medal win over Team USA in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and was named its MVP. He also played a part in Canada's triumph in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
In the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Sakic served captained the heavily favored but disappointing Team Canada, which failed to medal.
On October 20, 2005, Sakic learned that the Colorado Avalanche will not pick up his option for the 2006-2007 NHL season making the star forward a free agent after the 2005-06 season. The Avalanche may still re-sign Sakic.
Fellow Avalanche player Alex Tanguay, Team Canada teammate Simon Gagné, and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brad Richards all credit Sakic as their boyhood idol.
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